Langkow’s early goal then stood up as the winner as the Calgary Flames blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 Tuesday night. “You always want to chip in any way possible and it just so happens I’ve got a little streak going but the main thing is the two points at the end of the game,” said Langkow. Langkow also assisted on linemate Jarome Iginla’s empty-net goal to improve to eight goals and 15 assists in 25 games.
Iginla, who now has 299 career goals to go with 300 assists, said he enjoys having Langkow as his centreman and that the line has also rounded out nicely with the addition of left winger Alex Tanguay.
“He’s a very good guy to play with,” Iginla said of Langkow. “He’s a very hard worker. He’s not the biggest guy but he goes to the net as hard as anybody. His hands are so good around the net. As a line, I think we’re starting to get more chances consistently.”
Roman Hamrlik also scored for the Flames (13-10-2), while netminder Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 23 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season.
“It was a big challenge for our team and we did a good job tonight,” Kiprusoff said. “We knew they had lots of speed and we had to match that and that’s what we did tonight. They had not too many scoring chances, we played really strong defensively.”
Calgary has now won three games in a row and eight straight home games at the Saddledome.
The loss ended Carolina’s winning streak at three games as the Hurricanes record fell to 15-11-3.
Calgary seemed fired up to play the defending Stanley Cup champions in front of a sellout crowd of 19,289 fans.
“Obviously, everybody was ready to go and we had a good start, got an early lead and we played well,” Langkow said. “It’s a great way to start, especially against a team like that.”
Langkow quickly opened the scoring as he backhanded his own rebound past falling Carolina netminder John Grahame to put Calgary up 1-0.
“Any time you give up a goal that early, it kind of gives them the momentum,” said Grahame, who was disappointed he didn’t control the rebound better. “They kind of had it for the first part of the game.”
The Flames upped their lead to 2-0 late in the first period when Hamrlik one-timed a pass from Kristian Huselius into the top corner past Grahame.
“It was a nice shot,” Grahame said. “I think it was post and in. I just look at it from my point of view that those are some of the saves that you have to come up with.”
Carolina couldn’t get anything going long enough to put any sustained pressure on Kiprusoff.
“Any time you get down that early in a game, it’s not where you want to be especially against a team that’s pretty good defensively,” said Carolina forward Eric Staal. “They did a good job of keeping us to the outside and we just didn’t generate enough.”
Former Flame Mike Commodore, who was on the ice for Langkow’s goal, said it wasn’t the return to the Saddledome that he had envisioned.
“The first period was awful for us,” said Langkow. “We couldn’t get anything going. They were all over us.”
During a Carolina man advantage late in the first, Kiprusoff made a nice paddle save off a close-in shot by Hurricanes forward Eric Cole to keep the game scoreless.
The Flames had a pair of power-play opportunities in the second period, but couldn’t get any more pucks past Grahame.
Early in the third, Kiprusoff made a pad save to turn aside a point shot from Carolina defenceman Glen Wesley shortly before stopping a slap shot off the stick of Cole from the slot.
Grahame kept his squad in the game in the third by making a glove save off a shot from the slot by Calgary winger Alex Tanguay mid way through the period.
Notes: In their eight-game winning streak at the Saddledome, the Flames have outscored their opposition 27-6. … Hurricanes right winger Justin Williams had all three game-winning goals during Carolina’s three-game winning streak. In his previous four games, Williams had three goals and two assists, while Cole had four goals and one assist during that time.